Flying car? Drone? Vertical take-off vehicle? Minister says semantics not important, only its success

Azril Annuar
Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof speaks to the media at the Parliament building in Kuala Lumpur November 20, 2019. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — What Malaysia’s aspiring aerial mobility vehicle is called is not important as long the government can help make the industry successful, Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof said today.

The entrepreneur development minister was responding to Transport Minister Anthony Loke’s statement last night when he called Redzuan’s “flying car” a “drone”.

“It doesn’t matter. You want to call it a drone, it’s whether the narrative is accepted by people or not,” he told reporters in Parliament about the confusion over what to call the machine.

“In Japan it’s a flying car; Singapore flying taxi; Dubai flying taxi; in Germany it’s called vertical flying take off machine. Other people are calling it other names, aerocars. It depends on the narrative,” he added.

Asked whether Loke was wrong to have dismissed the flying car as only a drone — which could lead to public confusion, Redzuan said he believed that his Cabinet colleague did not mean to create such a situation.

He stressed that the bottom line is to ensure that air mobility, aviation and aerospace industry receives the encouragement it needs in order to grow.

“You see the world’s definition of drone this is something we need to understand. As far as my school of thought, drone is a flying dummy. Unmanned. They call it a UAV,” he said, using the abbreviation for unmanned aerial vehicle.

“When shaped like a plane they call it UAV. When they said it’s a flying object, they call it drone. When you sit there, can you call it a drone? It’s up to you to perceive it. It’s a narrative that has to be accepted by whoever wants to perceive it as a flying car.

“What is important is that air mobility is what we are talking about,” he said adding that the relevant parties are trying to obtain approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia for the vehicle’s test flight tomorrow.

Redzuan will be attending the test flight and has extended an invitation to his fellow lawmakers but has consistently refused to disclose the time or location to press, saying that it is a private initiative.

Currently, there are four initiatives for the flying vehicle in the country.

The first is a British initiative, the second a Malaysian initiative but it has to manufacture in Japan, the third is a collaboration between a Malaysian company and China which has the opportunity to export the first batch for inter-island hopping and the medical industry.

The fourth is initiated by a drone industry NGO which is seeking Putrajaya’s assistance to bring the technology into Malaysia.

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